Below in the full text of the statement of the Law Society of Botswana in protest against what they believe are ‘extra judicial killings’. The statement was dated 8 September 2009.
The Law Society of Botswana registered its concern and outrage at the proliferation of torture and shootings of unarmed civilians by state security agents following the killing of John Kalafatis in May 2009. The Society noted at the time that there was no indication that any action was being taken against the perpetrators of these heinous acts and wondered if this was not a sign that the killings and torture were state sanctioned.
Just more than two months later, one 29 year old Italy Setlampoloka, apparently a criminal suspect who was arrested by Botswana Police on the 29th July 2009 for failing to comply with his bail conditions was found dead on the 30thth July 2009 in a field in Gabane, in the outskirts of Gaborone. Indications then were that the last time the deceased was seen alive was when he was taken into custody by the Police. The Law Society was therefore comforted and reassured when the Police Commissioner immediately announced an investigation.
It is indeed regrettable that about six weeks after announcing the investigation, no arrests have been made nor has the Commissioner released any information on this death that in all likelihood occurred to a criminal suspect in his custody.
The Law Society has previously announced that it would do all that is required to ensure that those responsible for extra judicial killings and torture, either by giving directions for the same to be done, carrying out the killings or protecting those who directed or carried out the killings, are made to account. This position remains; all necessary steps, be they in the local courts or through enforcement of Botswana’s international Treaty obligations (ICC Investigation and Indictment, SADC Tribunal, AU Peoples and Human Rights Commission etc) will be taken by the Society to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
Whilst the Society is disappointed and finds it regrettable that the Citizen for Justice Forum has been declared “dead” by the Convenor of the Forum, it is confident that there are still a lot of local civil society organizations which share the same concerns on the continuing erosion of civil liberties and rule of law in Botswana. The Law Society is confident that civil society will stay firm and on course to restore the rule of Law and protection of civil liberties.
As a further sign of the Society’s commitment to the rule of law and protection of civil liberties, all those who have recently been affected by incidences of killings and torture by State Security Agents (victims or families of victims) are invited to contact the Law Society of Botswana in order to explore legal avenues available to them.